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Batman and Robin Eternal #20

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By Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges

“Watch out for that velociraptor with a clown head for a mouth.”

I’ll have what he’s having.

Tim Seeley takes on scripting duty again on the story by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder. This week in Batman and Robin Eternal there’s plenty of action, alongside laughs – the two qualities that really make this series shine brightly. This issue is loaded with a lot of great lines by Seeley among all the punches and plot points. Another great one, beside the quote you see above, comes not too far into the issue as we get, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here…oh wait, yes you do. Be quiet, Laundry basket!” Put that on the side of your cubicle – you know you want to! Red Hood even has a moment of clarity, and gives us all some solid advice on how to handle life’s (and Bluebird’s) punches. “Okay, that hurt. But I’m gonna take it in stride, see? And though it goes against everything I stand for, I’m gonna use my brains here. If I can be more of a Red Robin than a Red Hood…you can too.”

Though taking time to deliver the laughs, Seeley also does a great job pushing the plot along and giving the readers a solid issue. We get to see more of Mother’s plans come out of the woodwork – and she’s got things planned you didn’t even see coming (imagine that!). The characters are all in a panic and trying to rebuild their team, but it looks like Mother has plenty enough planned out to continually bring them down. If only the Batman were here, he always knows what to do. Something happening within this series is seeing all of the different Robin’s slowly becoming more like one another – Red Hood finding some inner peace and not be so much of a hot head in front of Bluebird is an example of this. But come the end of this issue (not saying who or what so it doesn’t count as spoiler material…right?) that status quo takes a bit of a shift, since everything going nice and steady makes for a boring story.

Seeley’s work on the issue brings the script back up to par for where it’s been for most of this series. We’re still getting some plot mumbo jumbo, but Seeley places it into action scenes were Grayson is almost hit in the face with a whip made of fire, so there’s certainly a poetic edge to such scenes. A great line even coming from Grayson in this scene gives an end to the endless ranting with “You talk too much.” – which is a refreshing thing to hear after the last few issues of text taking over the action.

The artwork this issue is done by artists Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges. It’s not directly referenced out where the switch in artists happens in the issue, but both Antonio and Borges do a great job at keeping the artwork consistent throughout, while also keeping the action high. Their work resembles that of most of what we’ve seen this series, though the play on textures is quite high this issue: a great example of the textures comes from the scene described above involving Grayson and the fire/electrical(?) whip. As the whip cuts through the air it hits a water line and we get to see that contrast with the blue and brightly lit orange, both of which are done in realistic fashion. The whip even cuts through a wall in an attempt to slash Grayson, but he’s luckily able to dodge that and deliver a swift kick to the gut of his enemy as we see the whip’s color diminish as it drops to the ground.

A great panel early on in the issue gives us a look at what Harper is seeing, while being affected by the fear toxin released by Mother. As she looks on during her struggle with Cassandra we see a panel with Cass having her arms out covered in blood. Harper is hellbent on taking out Cass while being influenced by the toxin while an array of colors swarm around Cass as to show the reader the impact the toxin is having on Harper’s mind. The velociraptor quote above is also due to the toxin, but instead coming from the mouth of Red Robin as he tries to pull it together. Cass looks quite demonic due to the impact of the toxin, the colors swirling out from her hands and body even taking over most of the page in the process as it intertwines around the different panels as a couple former Robin’s try to halt the onslaught by Harper (Bluebird). The gun Harper is using during this scene also goes back to the use of textures as described above. As she shoots the electrical beam it emits from the gun in a blaze of white and various shades of blue giving the impact of “SZZZK” as Grayson takes the hit while protecting Cass.

This issue raises the bar from issues prior. Seeley does a great job at pushing the story forward and pushing down our heroes into more chaos. Artists Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges do a great job bringing the script to life and creating some hard-hitting scenes – both figuratively and quite literally (that incoming kick from Orphan looks like it’s going to hurt!). The character reveal at the end is also a nice surprise and should prove to shake up the story even more! (We’ve been missing a level of smartass remarks that Red Hood just can’t deliver quite as well as this newest addition to the series). Looking forward to the next issue of Batman and Robin Eternal! 

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